Category Archives: Cotton

Fashion’s Favourite

Most people today don’t know what the repercussions of wearing cotton in England in the 1600’s were. When interviewing women about their knowledge of cotton, they were surprised and shocked by the unknown reality of major laws and riots. This podcast, “Fashion Favourite”, written by Maddie Philipps, Jensen Hamilton, Jackie Laitsch, and Rachel Hoffman, will explore Beverly Lemire’s research on the relationship between cotton, and England during the 1600’s. Just like the truth about cotton startled these women, it will astonish you as well!

The Blood, Sweat, and Tears behind Cotton

Cotton is used in the majority of our clothing today and many of us don’t know the history behind it’s production. In this podcast, “The Blood, Sweat, and Tears Behind Cotton”, we will continue to explore a topic that Clark Nardinelli discussed in his article “Child Labor and the Factory Acts”. Factory Acts were created in Britain during the Industrial Revolution (1760-1840) to protect children working in factories, but were these Factory Acts as effective as historians have claimed?  In this podcast we will argue that they were not.  Disputed by four UW-La Crosse students, Spring 2014: Kellie Shaw, Karlie Schultz, Mackenzie Pokorny, and Michelle Henry.

Fabric of Our Lives

When thinking about cotton, people tend to think of underwear or t-shirts. But there is much more to its history than that. In this podcast, “Fabric of Our Lives”, four UWL students in the spring of 2014: Megan Lockwood, Kelsey Martel, Travis Rothstein, and Alyssa Brown, will inform you about cotton’s debut in 19th century India and how it impacted Britain. Steve Onyeiwu’s article, “Deceived by Cotton”, helps us to discuss Britain’s requirements on cotton that focused on quality, finances, power and government involvement.

Cottons, Callicoes, and the Creation of Fashion

In this podcast, Cottons, Callicoes, & the Creation of Fashion, we explore the many struggles cotton faced  to become the popular textile it is today. With help from a “cotton expert” and a few primary sources, we will address consumption laws, public protests, and the abuse of women in 16th and 17th century Britain. Written by Hannah Peterson, Rhianna Zuleger, & Delaney Miller this podcast will focus on information presented in Beverly Lemire’s article, “Fashion’s Favourite: The Social Politics of Cotton and the Democratization of Style”. |University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse — Spring 2014.|


Hierarchies of dress were being undermined through the spread of new luxuries; social strata were becoming more complicated  as those with newly won wealth challenged placeholders with inherited positions, a contest which took material as well as political forms. Cotton was a fiber unlimited by associations with tradition, unrestrained with allusions to court dress–with little use in most of Europe, Cotton represented both opportunity and threat (Fashion’s Favorite).


Cotton Podcast

Children in the Work Force

Child Labor and the Factory Acts by Clark Nardinelli is an article about how children played a large role in the factories in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Children were the most popular in cotton factories. Cotton is an essential part of the ever day life today which is why it is important to learn about how it go to where it is. This podcast is based on children in the work force.

Grant Dahlke, Lucas Berg, Emily Gilkes, and Maurice Felton


Cotton Podcast

Many of you wear or use cotton on a daily basis and don’t ever think of the history or how it came to be a major part in our lives. Jason Miller, Lucas Morgen, Bryan Rose, and Kaleb Wolfe, students at UWL in 2013 will discuss how this commodity spread throughout the world and affected social classes. They will use “Crafting Comfort, Crafting Culture” by Beverly Lemire along with other sources to explain its importance. This will give you a new perspective on your view of cotton today.

Jason Miller, Lucas Morgen, Bryan Rose, and Kaleb Wolfe


Cotton Podcast

Everyone’s got a pair of jeans, from your mom to Jennifer Aniston. However, the journey of the cotton they’re created from is tainted by the Industrial Revolution, when a spotlight was shone on the conditions child laborers faced in textile factories. In 2013 Hannah Wallenkamp, Keyla Rosa, Kate Knapp, and Callie Rodenbiker analyzed Clark Nardinelli’s article “Child Labor and the Factory Acts” to help them spread the truth: Child labor declined not because of legislation, but because of rising real income and technological change.

Hannah Wallenkamp, Keyla Rosa, Kate Knapp, and Callie Rodenbiker



Cotton Podcasts Parts 1 & 2

We all wear cotton, yet we do not know where it comes from. If you look at your clothing tags you can see that the clothes we have comes from all around the world. Cotton has caused many issues throughout history. One of these issues being directly related to where our clothes come from. The wages of cotton producing workers is way too low. In many countries the workers may work around 55 hours a week and only make $2 an hour. Next time you buy clothes, keep in mind the person that worked long hours with minimum pay to make them. Another big issue during the 1900s when Britain became a huge producer of cotton was child labor. During this time period, 59% of all cotton factory workers were under the age of 18. People would do anything to be able to produce the maximum amount of cotton, including forcing children to work in the factories. Cotton was Britain’s principal source of wealth, and its legacy is experienced by all who live in the industrial societies it helped to create. Within this same time period cotton started to become more popular in America. Here new technologies, such as the spinning jenny and the cotton gin were formed to help make the cotton manufacturing easier and faster. Cotton has been around for many years and has made a large impact on the history of the world, as well as continuing to make an impact on everyday lives.

Jenny Smith, Amy Rinke, Kelsey Wacha, Carly Radiske


James H. Street, “COTTON MECHANIZATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.” American Economic Review 45, no. 4 (September 1955): 566.

Saxonhouse, Gary R., and Gavin Wright. “National Leadership and Competing Technological Paradigms: The Globalization of Cotton Spinning, 1878-1933.” Journal of Economic History 70, no 3. (September 2010): 535-566.

Genesee Valley. Cotton Gin. Accessed March 6, 2013.

Dodge, Bertha Sandford. Cotton, the plant That Would Be King. 1st ed. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984.

Hopkinson, Deborah. Up Before Daybreak: Cotton and People in America. New York: Scholastic Nonfiction, 2006.


Cotton Podcasts Parts 1 & 2

Wait! Before you listen to our podcasts, take a look at the tag on the back of your T-shirt. Go ahead, take a look! What material is your shirt made out of? Cotton, right? Despite it’s long and storied history, cotton remains the world’s most commonly used natural fiber in clothing today. This is mostly due to the Cotton Research and Promotion Act of 1966, which advocated the battle between synthetic competitors and began re-establishing markets for cotton around the world. Cotton continues to be a main export of the southern states, and a majority of the world’s annual cotton crop is of the long -staple American variety. The cotton industry envisions a future where environmentally sustainable production and manufacturing will thrive along with businesses that depend on cotton as a source of income. Ed Barnes, Ph.D., of Agriculture Research, Cotton Inc states that cotton plants take Co2 from the air and turn it into cotton. Today, cotton is used to make a variety of these products: highly absorbent bath towels and robes; denim for blue jeans; cambric, corduroy, socks, underwear, most T-shirts, bed sheets, and yarn. Have you ever wondered, though, just how cotton became so widely used around the world? In our two podcasts we will take you on a journey through cotton’s long history as well as how this commodity influenced the writing of the Communist Manifesto (From the minds of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels themselves!). So grab a friend, sit back, and enjoy our informational podcasts!

Hanna Herrick, Tanner Costello, Maxwell Jessesski



Lemire, Beverly. Fashion’s Favourite: The Cotton Trade and the Consumer in Britain, 1660-1800. Oxford University Press, 1991.

Museum, South Carolina Cotton, and Donning Company Publishers. The History of Cotton. University of South Carolina Press, 2007.

Smith, C. Wayne, and J. Tom Cothren. Cotton: Origin, History, Technology, and Production. John Wiley & Sons, 1999.

Yafa, Stephen H. Big Cotton: How A Humble Fiber Created Fortunes, Wrecked Civilizations, and Put America on The Map. Viking, 2005.

Yafa, Stephen. Cotton: The Biography of a Revolutionary Fiber. Penguin, 2006.

“Films On Demand – Karl Marx and Marxism.” Accessed March 6, 2013.

“Films On Demand – From Harmony to Revolution: The Birth and Growth of Socialism.” Accessed March 4, 2013.

Hunt, Tristram. “No Marx Without Engels.” History Today 59, no. 4 (April 2009): 48–51. Lichtenstein, Nelson. “The Return of Merchant Capitalism.” International Labor &Working-Class History 81 (Spring 2012): 8–27.

Marx, Karl. The Communist Manifesto. Penguin Classics. Harmondsworth, Eng. : New York, N.Y., USA: Penguin Books ; Viking Penguin, 1985.